Scream Factory has done well by the films Wes Craven made during his stint with Universal Studios, creating nice special editions of The People Under The Stairs as well as Shocker. Sadly, Craven passed away before he could lend his presence to a special edition of The Serpent And The Rainbow. Thankfully for fans, Scream Factory pressed on with their blu-ray plans for this title. While fans will no doubt miss the presence of Craven, the company has put together a nice presentation supported with a few interesting extras.
Things begins with a new transfer of the film taken from the interpositive. The results look impressive, handling the lush jungle backdrops and gritty night photography with equal aplomb. The lossless audio sticks to the original 2.0 stereo sound mix and it is a good representation of a vintage mix, with a nice depth to Brad Fiedel’s percussion-driven musical score.
Though this release isn’t marketed as a special edition, Scream Factory has thrown in some extras…
Commentary track: this features actor Bill Pullman and Robert Galluzzo as moderator. This track is shorter than the film due to time constraints for Pullman, stopping around the 55 minute mark, but it covers a decent amount of ground before it ends. Pullman discusses the circumstances that led to his casting, how the studio mandated reshoots for the finale and offers plenty of memories of Craven and his castmates, including some interesting material about Zakes Mokae. Galluzzo keeps the questions rolling and also throws in a memorable tale about one of the film’s writers.
Making-Of (24 min.): This piece incorporates the input of cinematographer John Lindley, author Wade Davis and FX men Lance & David Anderson plus some snippets of Pullman lifted from the commentary. There is much talk of the extensive research done for the film, including some interesting tales of dealing with local voodoo practitioners, as well detail on how different special effects were achieved. You’ll also learn about the original director and star choices for the film as well as Davis’ conflicted feelings about the finished product.
Additional extras: there is a punchy trailer that plays up the film’s shocking and surreal imagery, a shorter t.v. spot and an image gallery with around 60 images’ worth of stills, promotional photos and lobby cards.
All in all, this is a solid presentation of one of Craven’s best films. While it is sad that the director could not be involved, the results offer a nice tribute to his memory.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Serpent And The Rainbow, click here.